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Twitter - Twitter, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief...more
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Twitter users enter information to share with their "followers" by creating 140 character "tweets," and "followers" see what they are thinking, favorite links, etc., all from the brief "tweet." Tweets are much more than messages to share what you are eating for lunch! Use this popular microblogging and social networking tool for a great way to communicate with teaching peers and real world people you may not have a chance to otherwise meet. Reply to others to create conversations for some of the best professional development around. Each "tweet" or message may not seem extraordinary, but using the sum total of tweets from those you "meet" on Twitter can have an amazing impact. Use your profile and settings to add a bio and other information, change your security settings from public to protected, find those who follow you, and more. Post your tweets through the website, mobile devices, or myriad of applications to manage tweets and followers. Keep track of your favorite tweets by starring them. Refer to your favorites list as needed. Wish you could take back a tweet? Click the trash can beside the post to delete (however, others may have already seen and responded.) Find many opinions about Twitter on and off the Internet. Remember you will gain only as much as you put into this service. Build a network of helpful colleagues to become a better learner (and educator). Anyone can learn from Twitter, even a class of elementary students! Still not sure what Twitter is about? Find a great explanation of how it works in this review.

tag(s): microblogging (44), social media (16), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Bring teaching and learning to new heights by using this service as a great form of professional development. At conferences, use Twitter as a backchannel to expand upon thoughts and ideas during presentations and after. Have a question to ask others' opinion about? Throw it out to Twitter to see the great perspectives given by those who follow you. Start out slowly and look at conversations that catch your eye. Follow people with experience in your areas of interest to gain from the conversations. Start off by following @teachersfirst or @cshively (our leader).

Learn about hashtags -- ways to mark, search, and follow conversations on a specific topic. For example, the #ntchat tag is for new and pre-service teachers and the #edchat hashtag is for all teachers. Participate in these chats which are scheduled at certain days and times or search for their tweets anytime. Find archived tweets from these chats to learn from some wonderful and motivated teachers when it is convenient for YOU. Use other Twitter applications to search or collect specific hashtags.

As a teaching tool, Twitter is amazing! If your school permits access, have a class account to share what you are doing with parents and especially for your class to follow people in topics you study. Studying space? Follow NASA. Studying politics and government? Follow your congressional rep or the White House. Consider using your teacher or class account to send updates to other teachers across the country or across the globe. You can also teach about responsible digital citizenship by modeling and practicing it as a class. A whole-class, teacher account is the most likely way to gain permission to use Twitter in school, especially if you can demonstrate specific projects. That can be as simple as making sure you and that teacher are FOLLOWING each other, then sending a direct message (start the tweet with D and the other teacher's twitter name) or creating a group with your own hashtag for a project such as daily weather updates. Even if you are not "following" someone, you can send them a tweet using @theirtwittername in the body of the message. This is called a "mention" but can be seen by others, too. Compare what your class is observing in today's weather, which topics you will be discussing today, or ask for another class' opinions on a current events issue. Ask for updates about local concerns, such as talking to California schools about wildfires in their area or a Maine school about a blizzard. Challenge another class to tweet the feelings of a literacy character, such as Hamlet, and respond as Ophelia, all in 140 characters or less. Have gifted students? Connect your classroom with the outside world to find greater challenges and connections beyond your regular curriculum.

Learn much more about teaching ideas and tools for Twitter in the many resources listed on TeachersFirst Twitter for Teachers page.

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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, emailed, saved, or printed for free. All themes are free. This is a free download, so make sure you have computers that have the capability to download before creating a lesson with this tool. See the reviewer's sample here.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (265), movies (64), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You will need to be able to download this program, and you will need 4 MB of space on your computer to do so. The program will automatically pull some photos from Windows Media or iPhoto depending on what your computer uses for photos. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out the review of Jing reviewed here for details and a down-loadable screen shot taker. (It is what our reviewer used to capture extra images for the sample!) From here, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, this program has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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Mutapic - Wotoco

Grades
K to 12
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Use this online picture generator to draw and create original art. Create logos, patterns, or other elements. Click on the green button to begin. Create a new picture by combining ...more
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Use this online picture generator to draw and create original art. Create logos, patterns, or other elements. Click on the green button to begin. Create a new picture by combining two others. Mutapic randomly generates pictures so choices are different each time. Choose the two pictures in the space at the left side of the screen. Click the green button to generate a new picture. Change any of the aspects listed such as tint, brightness, symmetry, and more to change aspects of the picture. Some features such as Save and Import are only available with the professional version. Work can easily be saved using the print screen function (Print Screen -- PrtScrn key -- in Windows or Apple/Shift/4 in a Mac). Your image can then be "pasted" into a document, slide, or elsewhere, using Ctrl+V (Command+v on Mac).

tag(s): design (84), drawing (78), elements (36), images (265)

In the Classroom

Use to generate original artwork which can be shared with the class on a blog, wiki, or site. Use the designs to discuss aspects of art such as line color, balance, shape, texture, etc. Recreate drawings in class using media found in the classroom. Challenge students to create their own projects in cooperative learning groups. Have students operate this tool on an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate design principles in Art class. Make creative bulletin board displays or visual writing prompts, simply by asking "what is it?" or "what does it do?" next to your new designs. Decorate student-made greeting cards using images as part of an informal letter-writing activity.

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Library of Congress Read.gov - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers ...more
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers pages specifically designed for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators, and parents. There is so much here: Contests, books online, book lists, and more. The webcast section is truly extensive. There are Webcasts from famous authors such as R.L. Stine, Jon Scieszka, Jan Brett, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman, and many more. These webcasts also include interesting topics like "Mystery Writers Discuss Their Craft" and "The Nuts and Bolts of Historical Fiction" among others.

A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.

tag(s): authors (120), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Check out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Copyright-Friendly and Copyright Left - copyrightfriendly.wikispaces.com

Grades
K to 12
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Concerned about copyright in the classroom? Use this list as an outstanding way to learn more about copyright. Note: We don't usually review "hotlists," but this list is extensive and...more
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Concerned about copyright in the classroom? Use this list as an outstanding way to learn more about copyright. Note: We don't usually review "hotlists," but this list is extensive and outstanding on the subject of copyright. This site is a source for creative commons images to use in not only student projects but also for teacher work. Be sure to check out all links for great information and a source of copyright free images.

tag(s): copyright (47), creative commons (21), images (265)

In the Classroom

For use by all levels and subject areas. Teach students about basic copyright laws and how to use images and materials correctly as part of everyday work in every single classroom. Introduce in the classroom and allow students the opportunity to review a variety of these sites to determine the ones they are most comfortable with and the specific attributes of each that are worthwhile for different needs. Be sure to discuss these in class as they bring to light many copyright issues.

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Daily Writing Prompts - The Teacher's Corner

Grades
2 to 8
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Are you looking for interesting and fun ways to provide practice and inspire students to improve their writing? The "Daily Writing Prompt" page of The Teacher's Corner will make...more
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Are you looking for interesting and fun ways to provide practice and inspire students to improve their writing? The "Daily Writing Prompt" page of The Teacher's Corner will make your life a little easier for as many days as possible, when you are searching for an event to initiate a journal entry or any writing prompt. The ideas are written for various grade levels to meet the needs of both primary and intermediate students. Some of the prompts may not explicitly state that day's event; however you can easily cross reference them with this site's monthly events calendar. Who knows that June 1 is "Donut Day?" Many students consider donuts to be a great breakfast food, which leads to the describe your "perfect breakfast" prompt. However you decide to use "Daily Writing Prompt," you will find them to be a helpful addition to your resources.

tag(s): writing (358), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

One advantage to the "Daily Writing Prompt" is that they can easily be displayed on your interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. They can be used in a number of ways to improve your students' writing, including daily warm-up activities, practice in writing for state assessments, journal entries, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're done" activity. The writing prompts have creative ideas and options for how to implement them. They can be easily printed to use as practical "emergency" or substitute teachers' lesson plans.
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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides - Jen Farr

Grades
K to 12
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics....more
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Writing Exemplars and Scoring Guides provides descriptions and links to authentic writing samples organized and evaluated by grade level, as well as scoring guides and rubrics. Samples, also referred to as anchor papers, include narrative, informative, and creative writing. Although scoring guides and rubrics may vary between states and school districts, they share a similar criterion that incorporates the various traits of writing. This is one of the many useful pages from the Farroutlinks blog site, which continues to post new ideas on an ongoing basis.

tag(s): rubrics (32), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and use it to select samples of students' writing that represent various performance levels. Use your classroom projector and interactive whiteboard to display some of the samples to show your students a solid idea of what is expected from them to write an outstanding paper. Pair this with one of the many scoring rubrics to choose from, including your state scoring guidelines. This will provide excellent preparation for all grade level state assessments, college entrance essays, SAT writing or just some of your own classroom writing assignments. Some of the more familiar links that you may access right from this page, such as Bakersfield Writing Prompts and Scoring Guides (reviewed here), and the 6+1 Writing Traits (reviewed here).
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conjugation.com - Best Practice

Grades
5 to 12
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See the conjugation of any English verb for free. This site conjugates over 15,000 verbs in all 3 forms: affirmative, interrogative, and negative, and in all tenses, genders, persons,...more
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See the conjugation of any English verb for free. This site conjugates over 15,000 verbs in all 3 forms: affirmative, interrogative, and negative, and in all tenses, genders, persons, voices, and moods. An added advantage at this site is you can see the definition of the verb. Other nice features are an example of the verb used in a sentence and a synonym of the verb used in a sentence. If you are a world language teacher, you may want to check back at this brand new site. They say they will next be developing pages to conjugate verbs in languages other than English.

tag(s): grammar (216), parts of speech (68), speech (92), verbs (41), writing (358)

In the Classroom

This site has a source code you can embed on your own wiki or website. In class you can use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students conjugation.com and have them suggest verbs to be entered and conjugated. They will also learn the names of the verb forms and tenses. Have the ESL and ELL students in your class use this site to check their writing. Underline the verbs in their writing that are not conjugated correctly and let them make the corrections using conjugation.com.

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Mix Book - Andrew Laffoon

Grades
K to 12
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Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously...more
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Enhance digital storytelling and classroom-publishing techniques with Mixbook. This web 2.0 creating tool lets students collaboratively create beautiful books. Users can simultaneously insert photos, text, and edit from separate computers. Authors can select from a wide variety of thematic designs, layout options, stickers, and backgrounds or design their own. Upload personal photos, scanned illustrations, or free public domain images directly into the image library. Inserting photos is a simple, intuitive process that requires a click and drag. The text comes in a variety of font options, and sizes. A complete transcript of the writing appears below the book. Viewers can enjoy the reading the book without needless advertising or redirection to another site. It is also possible to copy a book and easily create a customized edition for individual students. There is always the option to purchase books directly from the Mixbook. Go directly to this site and immediately create your masterpiece.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (142), ebooks (41)

In the Classroom

Use Mixbook to create collaborative projects, yearbooks, or to give writers workshop publishing a professional flare. History teachers may enjoy letting students photograph a re-enactment of a scene from the past and then write accompanying text. Combine yearly research reports with this multimedia option. Have students create collaborative projects that access fantastic photography collections from sites such as the Library of Congress . Primary school teachers can photograph student illustrations of familiar songs, poems, or rhymes and create "class" books. Project these books onto an interactive whiteboard or projector and revolutionize shared reading. Create parent education books that communicate how to help with their student's reading at home, or explain the stages of project-based learning. Students can also author books in a foreign language. Mixbook is useful for all areas of the school curriculum. Remember to embed student books into the school website for family and friends at home to enjoy.

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Common Core State Standards - Common Core State Standards Initiative Team

Grades
K to 12
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set...more
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a nationwide effort led by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to establish a common set of educational standards which aligns benchmarks and expectations across state lines. This system builds on what states are already doing by providing an opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and lessons, while maintaining high expectations that insure the quality of education across America to enable our students to maintain a competitive edge in the global economy.

Visit this website to find out exactly what the national K-12 standards are for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science and technology, as well as mathematics, and to find out if your state is one many states (at the time of this review) that have already committed to adopt the Common Core State Standards. Watch videos and the recorded webinar, and read about the key points and rigorous curriculum standards, including the content and skills related to the use of media and technology for critical analysis and production.

tag(s): commoncore (92)

In the Classroom

Take a look at exemplars and sample performance tasks and students' writing to consider how you can integrate these ideas into your own planning to prepare students for the growing challenges of today's world. You can also sign up to receive updates via email. For more information about the Common Core and implementing it in your classes, see TeachersFirst's Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction, a Q/A article for elementary teachers, and TeachersFirst's resources tagged Common Core for many helpful sites.
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The Data Liberation Front - Google

Grades
7 to 12
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Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to ...more
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Do you use various Web 2.0 items and are unsure how to move information from one to the other (or from the cloud to your computer?) Use this site to learn how to move information from one area to another. For example, learn how to import and export bookmarks. Also learn how to import, export, or zip google documents to your computer.

tag(s): directions (20), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Provide this link as a resource to your students. Allow them the opportunity to learn techniques to move and manage their online information. Consider putting this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home.
 

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Smories - Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for a place to publish your student's writing? Smories is a cool site to do this for your student writers. At this site you will find videos of students, ...more
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Looking for a place to publish your student's writing? Smories is a cool site to do this for your student writers. At this site you will find videos of students, 8 to 11 years old reading short stories. Click "Submit a filmed Smory" to submit a video of your Smory. Submitting a video of your Smory requires an email address. Writers can be any age, however narrators must be 16 or under. There is also a place where students sixteen and older may have their stories become one of 50 stories entered into a monthly contest. (Visit the "Submit a Smory" link). There are five winners a month, with a monetary prize. If you're a writer (established or aspiring), send in a story! Be sure to get parent permission to publish stories.

tag(s): word choice (26)

In the Classroom

This would be a great way to have your older students study word choice! Start by going to the "Writing Fix For Kids" (reviewed here) and look at the left column index to find "Six Traits" click on "Word Choice." At this site you will find several recommendations for picture books and chapter books to use with your students so they can analyze good word choice. Read a few of these, and ask the students to point out the descriptive writing that stands out for them. Then use a wordless picture book and have your students write a short story for an 8 to 11 year old that doesn't rely on the illustrations. From there your students can write their own short story, and have an 8 to 11 year old student read it while being video taped. You might consider pairing up with a local elementary or middle school teacher to have one of their students do the reading.

For younger students, use your projector or interactive whiteboard and project the student reader full screen. It would be like having a visitor come to your classroom at story time!
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Edit Dan's Copy - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Reporter Dan needs help editing his news reports. Students can choose Level 1 for capital letters and final punctuation or Level 2 for run-on sentences, quotation marks, and apostrophes....more
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Reporter Dan needs help editing his news reports. Students can choose Level 1 for capital letters and final punctuation or Level 2 for run-on sentences, quotation marks, and apostrophes. Students need to retype the entire sentence using correct punctuation and capitalization. Walk through this site with students prior to putting them on independently. This site provides a lot of keyboard practice and may require some comfortability with a keyboard.

tag(s): capitalization (19), grammar (216), punctuation (43), sentences (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site as additional independent practice during center time or have students work in pairs to edit the sentences together. Place the site on an interactive white board or projector and correct the sentences during whole-group work time. This would be a great Opening activity for the start of the school day.
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Literacyhead - Jan Burkins

Grades
K to 5
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum...more
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Literacyhead is an online literary magazine that provides creative inspiration for teaching reading, writing, and higher order thinking. They provide teachers a literacy curriculum that promotes creativity and critical thought. Every two weeks Literacyhead publishes a new issue that focuses on either a children's book author, writing, or reading comprehension strategy or open ended literary theme. Their lessons are not prescriptive or ordinary and always include the visual arts. Each issue is broken up into 14 components. Two of the main features are The "Art of Teaching Writing" and "The Art of Teaching Reading." The writing section contains a lesson perfect for writer's workshop. Funny cartoons introduce the week's literacy theme. They recommend author mentor texts and suggest independent writing practice objectives. The book titles they suggest come with discussion prompts to guide reading instruction before, during, or after a read aloud. Visual vocabulary illustrations serve as definitions for key terms. Explore the other wonderful features such as literacy coaching tips, and writing stARTs. Literacyhead's current weekly issue is free but there is an optional membership fee that provides access to previous issues. Sign up for their free bi-weekly newsletter for new issue alerts.

tag(s): creativity (109), literacy (103), writers workshop (31)

In the Classroom

Reach out to the artists and visual learners in your class. ESL/ELL instructors will find the gorgeous graphics and "visual vocabulary" a fantastic way to communicate concepts to second language learners. Literacyhead will spark ideas for instruction that address the diverse learning styles in classrooms today. Use this site to help students draw connections between text, and prompt thoughtful conversations. Ask students to create their own "visual vocabulary" illustrations. Download the free graphic organizers. This site offers reproducible graphic tools to reinforce comprehension and writing strategies but also some meant to develop critical and creative thought. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support students.
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Tooth Tally - Lynda Smith

Grades
K to 2
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Are your students loosing the same number of teeth as children in other parts of the world? Seize the moment and embark on a global collaborative tooth tally project. Students ...more
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Are your students loosing the same number of teeth as children in other parts of the world? Seize the moment and embark on a global collaborative tooth tally project. Students will learn how to gather data and share their findings with an international community of peers. This project intertwines math skills, storytelling, geography, and descriptive writing. The creator Lynda Smith requires that teachers join her wiki and register for the project by February 1. The wiki is where participants post all class work, photos, data, and comments.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (148), dental health (23)

In the Classroom

This site is a good way to embark on global collaborative projects with your class. Lynda Smith provides lesson ideas, clear directions, newsletter updates, handouts, and links for further enrichment. All participants collaborate on a small group of set activities such as keeping personal lost tooth tally, creating a class graph of lost teeth and drawing a tooth fairy. In addition to this, the "Teachers" page lists other possible activities and posts free resources. Consider integrating how to use Google Earth reviewed here. Have students locate where other participants go to school. Compare and contrast how their environment looks similar or different from your own school. This is a perfect unit Dental Health Month (February). Be sure to get parent permission before posting any student work on this sharing site.
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A New Way to Lecture - Michael Zimmer

Grades
4 to 12
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you ...more
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At this site you will find a slide show with at least fourteen different programs you can use instead of PowerPoint for your lectures. Are your PowerPoint lectures boring you and your students? Take a look at this online slide show, and choose one of fourteen different programs to convert just one of your PowerPoint lectures. Not only is each program explained, but many have suggestions for integrating your lectures with the program. Take a look. Learn about some great web 2.0 sites (Glogster, Prezi, TypeWith.me, Animoto, ToonDoo, and many others). Note that many of the tools mentioned are also reviewed on TeachersFirst in greater detail if you want to learn more.

tag(s): chat (51), comics and cartoons (74), digital storytelling (142)

In the Classroom

Surprise your students and yourself with how effective any one of these programs can be with your material or THEIR presentations. Create a comic strip to replace a traditional grammar lesson. Use a class wiki to discuss and debate topics in history class. Create an online poster "glog" on using Glogster to demonstrate a new math concept. Once you see a tool that sounds interesting, read its full review on TeachersFirst to find even more ways to use it.
 
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PhotoPeach - Nota, Inc

Grades
3 to 12
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This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample ...more
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This site allows you to upload photos, create captions, and add music to a slideshow in minutes. It is fun and easy to use. Check out the reviewer's sample here. Shows can be shared or embedded into other social networking type sites.

tag(s): images (265), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You also must be able to locate files on your computer to upload. Follow onscreen instructions to create a project. The instructions are very easy to understand. In a few short steps, there is a finished product. Share the finished show by URL or embed code (for those who know how to copy/paste this code).

Use this site in science class to make a slideshow of a completed lab as an alternative to a laboratory report. Use this in history class to create short videos about different people and places in history. Use in math to have students explain a word problem or complex algebra problems in a slide by slide (step by step) manner. In lower grades, use a whole class account to create a slideshow about a class project or special event such as pumpkin day and all the calculations you do with pumpkin seeds, the weight of pumpkins, etc. Share the slideshow as an embedded object on your class web page/wiki or share the link with parents so they can ask their child about the activity and reinforce the concepts simply by having him/her talk about it at home.

If students create their own shows using images from the web, be sure they are using Creative Commons licensed photos or images without copyright restrictions, sine the products are shared online. Of course you will want to require a credit for any photo used to be included in the show.

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Pullfolio - pullfolio.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Create an online portfolio created from your flickr set of specific photos. Choose your photos by choosing a set or a specific tag. Pictures are displayed in an elegant and ...more
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Create an online portfolio created from your flickr set of specific photos. Choose your photos by choosing a set or a specific tag. Pictures are displayed in an elegant and beautiful format. Since Pullfolio is not flash based, the ipod/iphone app is another plus. Pullfolio instantly updates as you update your flickr set or continue to use the tag. Use the free version or go pro to use your own domain and access additional features.

tag(s): flickr (7), images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Users must be able to add pictures to a set on flickr or use a specific tag for particular pictures. Be sure to choose your username carefully as it becomes part of the url of your portfolio. Follow the directions to identify your flickr account with Pullfolio.

Have students create their own pullfolio, but why not create a class pullfolio that showcases student work? If using as a class pullfolio, pictures will not be attributed to the individual students. Create some way of identifying pictures to various students. Require students to tag their pictures with their initials as well or create a comment with their initials in the picture's description.

This tool would be a great asset to a photography or art class but can be used in any subject area. Create a pullfolio of pictures that showcase life around us, or in a Math class to show various Math functions in man made structures and nature. Use this site to take your geography class around the world (virtually). Have students create presentations in any subject area and narrate the pictures rather than doing a traditional oral report. Speech and language on lower grades or ESL/ELL teachers could create pullfolios for vocabulary development, tagging them for positions, feelings, etc. Involve students in taking the pictures, then share the resulting pullfolios for them to practice their new words.

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TodaysMeet - James Socol

Grades
5 to 12
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows...more
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This simple-to-use tool allows anyone with the link to today's discussion to participate in a live chat. A simpler and safer alternative to Twitter or text messaging, this tool allows anyone with the URL for a specific chat stream to join in, using short (140 characters) messages. Participants can be in the same room or across the globe. The only "skill" needed is being able to type! Save a transcript via the link at the bottom of the chat and switch to "projector-friendly" view with one click so a group can follow the chat on screen. TodaysMeet does not require a membership to access these features, but creating a free account with an email address unlocks more features to meet your needs. The free account allows you to archive your rooms for up to one year, and custom organization of your rooms is available for easy access. You can only archive rooms for up to one month without creating an account. Filter participants, moderate their content, and use speaker colors to take control of your rooms. A TodaysMeet account also offers three different QR code sizes to share access to your room as well as the ability to allow participants to download the transcript. TodaysMeet may be blocked through some web filters as a social media site.

tag(s): microblogging (44), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

No special skills needed except the ability to create a name for your chat and to share the URL with others. Create "room" by giving it a name; decide how long you want it to last; and add a Twitter hashtag (optional). The room name becomes part of the URL. For example, The room called tfedge has URL http://todaysmeet.com/tfedge. Give participants the room URL. They join in simply by entering a name (or initials, to keep it safe) and clicking Join.

Use backchannel chat on laptops during a video or student presentations. Pose questions for all to answer/discuss in the backchannel, or ask students to pose their own "I wonder if..." questions as they watch and listen. Keep every student engaged and THINKING as an active listener. The first time you use backchannel, you will want to establish some etiquette and accountability rules, such as respectful language and constructive criticism. Assign students to watch a news program or political show and have a backchannel chat during the broadcast. Revisit the chat on a projector in class the next day or post the chat transcript to a class blog or wiki and have students respond further in blog posts or on the wiki discussion tab. The advantage of backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy.

In world language classes or even autistic support class, have students backchannel descriptions of what they see as classmates act out a scene from a video, using new language vocabulary and/or describing the feelings of the actors. In studying literature, collaborate with another class to have students role-play a chat between two characters or - in history class - between soldiers on two sides of the Civil War or different sides of the Scopes Money trial. Make brevity an impetus for well-focused thoughts and use instantaneous response as an incentive for engagement.

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